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Why can’t I use my Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets at Disney World or Disneyland during Spring Break?
This is a common response that I hear when military families first learn that their military Disney tickets are not valid on certain days.
Since January 2009 the Disney Armed Forces Salute has always had days that the special military discount tickets were not able to be used for admission to Disney’s theme parks or for resort room discounts. Disney calls these days Blockout Dates because the discounts are Blocked from use (some people mistakenly refer to them as blackout dates).
These Blockouts have historically included the week-long period which includes Christmas and New Years, a week or two during Spring Break, and well in the past the Fourth of July was also included.
Each year the Blockout Dates are slightly different, depending on school schedules which affect Disney’s projected attendance levels.
Blockout Dates for the 2020 Disney Armed Forces Salute
The blockout dates are listed below for Disney World and Disneyland. 2020 is unique in that besides these published blockouts, the parks closed for 4 months due to unforeseen circumstances.
Due to the park closures the 2 U.S. Disney Destinations offered different plans to move forward.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World extended their Disney Armed Forces Salute Ticket expiration through 26 September 2020. They must be purchased by 18 December 2020!
There is now an extended window to purchase 2020 Salute Tickets 19 Dec ’20 – 14 Feb ’21
The fate of 27 September through 31 December 2021 is not known at this time.
But MDT expects Disney to at some point offer new 2021 Salute Tickets valid through 17 December at a higher price point.
Disney Armed Forces Salute TICKET Blockout Dates at Disney World
- None have been announced for the remainder of 2020 (this includes Christmas) or for 2021 through 26 September.
Disney Armed Forces Salute ROOM Blockout Dates at Disney World
2020 Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets
- 5 – 18 April 2020
- The 2020 Room Offer still ends on 18 December 2020
A 2021 Disney Armed Forces Salute Room Offer has been announced.
Disneyland initially extended their Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets through 16 December 2021.
They also proposed a re-opening date, which was subsequently cancelled. After the re-opening was cancelled Disneyland took most of their website down including the Military Salute information.
Disneyland had announced Blockout Dates in conjunction with their extension, but now with no info on the site and the closure continuing to extend the fate of the extension and any blockouts is unknown.
Disney Armed Forces Salute TICKET Blockout Dates at the Disneyland Resort (as originally published)
- 5 – 12 April 2020
- 19 December 2020 – 4 January 2021
- 26 March through 11 April 2021
Disney Armed Forces Salute ROOM Blockout Dates at the Disneyland Resort
- None for 2020 through end of original offer period (17 December 2020)
- The 2020 Room Offer still ends on 17 December 2020
It is not known when Disneyland will reopen. Probably after the long, dark winter…
Why Are There Blockout Dates?
Many very frustrated readers have contacted me both recently and over the last couple of years, to ask why there are blockouts. They always want to know, “Why won’t Disney allow me to use the discount military tickets during the only time that I can go to Disney?”
Many feel that since it’s a military salute there should be no exclusion dates.
They don’t want to pull the kids out of school to use the discount at another time when it is available.
Disney’s Motivation for the Salute
Many take Disney’s Armed Forces Salute at the title’s face value, that Disney has made this offer due to their support of the troops. While that definitely is a factor in Disney’s reasoning they do have other more immediate reasons to make these offers.
Many new to military life may be unaware that the recent semi-constant Military Salute offers are a rarity in the history of the Disney Company. In the past Disney did offer one free ticket to military members after Operation Desert Storm. But during the twenty-first century these offers have only come at times of reduced theme park/resort attendance and are designed to draw more people to the Disney vacation destinations.
The current round of Disney Salutes began 4 January 2009 after the start of the late 2008 Financial Crisis.
Prior to this timeframe the previous special offer was in the first half of 2002 during the post 9/11 travel industry downturn.
Prior to the Salute offers all we in the military had in the way of a Disney discount was the slightly discounted regular military discounted Magic Your Way tickets and the Shades of Green Stars and Stripes Passes.
Disney Attendance Levels
Disney’s main purpose behind the blockout dates is to dissuade you from coming then, as there are already way too many people in the Disney theme parks!
If you check any Disney Guide Book you’ll note that the timeframes of Disney’s military salute blockout dates are during peak attendance periods. During these timeframes Disney often closes their theme parks to arriving guests during the day due to maximum attendance levels. Only those staying on property are allowed in, others are turned away.
The way Disney looks at this is strictly from a business perspective. If they can fill the parks during those timeframes and actually have to turn away people willing to pay full price, then they’d be crazy to let those paying half price for military tickets block those spots.
How This Helps You
The above is a pragmatic look at Disney’s reasoning. But here is my positive outlook on the situation.
These high attendance days, for lack of better words are simply miserable in the theme parks. There are just way too many people, lines are unbearable, and you’ll be unable to accomplish all that you’d like to do.
I think it’s really a blessing in disguise that you can’t use your Armed Forces Salute tickets during Spring Break or other peak times. It forces you to re-evaluate your vacation schedule and plan to go at another time. You’ll end up thanking yourself because your experience will be so much better during lower attendance periods.
Yes, this may involve taking the kids out of school, but you can take along class/homework and make opportunities to turn the vacation into a learning experience.
Share your thoughts on Blockout Dates in the comments section below!
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Read about the Temporary Changes to Disney World during their Post-Lockdown Re-OpeningSee Our Great Disney Discount and Planning Info:
- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
- Resorts/Hotel Overview Page
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- Transportation Overview Page
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